Income/Expenses for May 2011

Each month I will post my income/expenses for the previous month. I track every dollar in and out, so what you see is exactly what I earned and spent (rounded to the nearest dollar).

Income from May 2011:

$3,756–Regular Paycheck
$95–Dividends
$50–Bonus and Spiffs

Total Income: $3,901

Expenses from May 2011:

$633–Rent
$915–Car Payment
$180–Student Loan
$29–Restaraunts
$78–Auto Insurance
$99–Fuel
$60–Groceries
$67–Pharmacy
$58–Fast Food and Pizza
$35–Internet
$82–Mobile Phone
$7–Public Transportation
$251–Everything Else*

Total Expenses: $2,498

*-The Everything Else category includes things I don’t have a regular budget for. In this case it was a ($139) trip to Target to buy a bicycle to ride to and from bus stops, a ($53) trip to Wal-Mart to buy a backpack, umbrella and other associated items to make it easier to ride a bike and a bus and a ($58) expense to renew my registration on my vehicle since I couldn’t sell it with an expired tag apparently.

As always, in the interest of full disclosure I like to display my income and expenses from every month for public view. This will catalogue my journey to financial independence and prove that it is possible to achieve early retirement on relatively modest means.

This month was certainly nothing to write home about. As you can clearly see, my expenses were much higher than normal due to paying off my car. A typical car payment for me was less than $290, but this month it was north of $900. That was due to my selling of my vehicle and paying off the difference between the offer and what my balance was. It feels good to have that albatross not hanging over my neck any longer. My expenses before this month were typically in the $1,600 range, but now that the car is gone I feel confident I can get them down to the $1,200 level reliably every month. That would be an incredible feat for me as my monthly budgets were more than twice that before I started this venture into frugal living.

One expense that should be noted is the mobile phone bill. I wrote an article a while back about how I use a VOIP cell phone over wifi connections. I have not had a regular cell phone in quite a while. I decided to sign up for a Mobile PCS unlimited talk, text and web plan for $40 per month which includes a flat fee with no monthly contract. That $40 monthly fee includes taxes and all regulatory fees. I consider it a pretty good deal. I may write an article in the near future about this, but basically I decided that having a regular and reliable cell phone was in my best interest now that I’m using public transportation. Emergencies or other circumstances can arise and I need to have a line of communication in case something happens. I canceled the VOIP service that was $9 per month. My mobile phone expense was high this month because I had to pay a month in advance, buy a phone ($30) and also pay the VOIP monthly service. Next month, and going forward, it’s going to be $40 for this expense.

I managed to save 35.9% of my net income this month, which was actually a huge victory considering I paid off my car and had high expenses in almost every category. Going forward, I expect this number to be closer to 65%. I think June’s numbers will be wonderful.

My goal is to average a 50% savings rate of my net income, monthly. So far, I’ve hit rates of:

52.5%-January
54.4%-February
39.9%-March
61.8%-April
35.9%-May

I am now at an average of 48.9% for the year. This is slightly behind my goal, but I am more than confident that I will meet and exceed a 50% average.

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages

Comments

  1. says

    Mantra,

    I am completely impressed each month you post this type of article.

    Doing some simple math, how in the world do you only spend $147 dollars TOTAL on all food-related purchases…in a month’s span?

    Great work man. Inspiring.. :)

  2. Anonymous says

    Have you ever thought of using a high yield fund ? I have ABHIX paired with TWEIX, works very well around 20% in ABHIX, it is a great way to compound dividends each month.

  3. says

    Partisan,

    Thanks.

    As for food, I’m particularly proud of keeping those costs down, and that’s probably where one of the biggest sacrifices comes into play. A lot of peanut butter sandwiches and ramen noodles account for the low expenses.

    Take care brother.

  4. says

    Anonymous,

    I don’t invest in funds at this moment. I enjoy researching indivual companies and owning tiny portions of said companies.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. Oculista says

    I once tried to save 50% of my net salary. I achieved it for several years but now I am paying my car and that is no longer possible.

    Today I am devoted to the “three thirds rule” which says one must save one third of his total net income, spend other third in house related items (mainly mortgage or rent, taxes, insurance, etc) and use the other third for personal spending (food, car, travels, and things like that). Taking my dividend stream into account I am keeping the rule. And while dividends keep growing year on year it would be easier to save more and more.

    One question the intrigues me Mantra. How much do you expect to earn through dividends at age of 40 in order to be able to live exclusively from them?

    Regards

  6. Anonymous says

    Terrific blog and thank you for letting us follow along on your adventure. We’re pulling for you.

  7. says

    Oculista,

    Paying on a car does impede some success on saving money, and that’s one of the main reasons I got rid of mine.

    The “three thirds” rule sounds pretty good to me. I don’t think there is any one-size-fits-all strategy to personal finance, and what works for me may not work for anyone else. I think the way your approaching your finances sounds pretty good to me. If it’s working for you and you see your plan coming together then that’s all that really matters. Saving a third of your income is a lot better than most do, and what I’m doing could probably be considered “extreme”.

    I hope to earn around $15,000 per year by the time I turn 40 from dividends. I plan on my expenses hovering $1,000 a month around then. It will be close, and my journey is going to chronicle how close I get. One major expense I hope not to have by then is my student loan payment. Of course, this is 11 years from now. We’ll see how it goes.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  8. says

    Hey Mantra! Good luck with your goal, can’t wait to follow along.

    We hope to hit financial freedom in 2020 too; my husband will be 40….we’re doing things a little differently to you, but it’s still fun to read blogs with similar goals.

  9. says

    Laura,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad your enjoying the journey with me.

    2020? That’s great and your husband hopes for FI by 40, which is also my deadline. I see you appear to be moving overseas as well. Very interesting and I wish you the best of luck. I have thought from time to time about moving to SE Asia once I’m FI.

    Take care and good luck!

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